Pasta in Tomato Sauce

This is a very quick and easy dish with a lovely piquant tomato sauce.

Pasta in Tomato Sauce

In a large frying pan, cook off some pancetta, then in the same pan soften a finely chopped onion and red pepper.

When the pancetta, onions and pepper are nearly cooked, add a good splash of balsamic vinegar, then as this boils add a blended tin of tomatoes (or you could use passata if you want to). Add some tomato puree and sliced mushrooms. Leave to simmer for at least twenty minutes and preferably a little longer. Towards the end add some chopped fresh parsley.

When you are nearly ready to eat, cook the pasta. With a tomato sauce I much prefer to use a dried pasta (and use fresh pasta with a cream based sauce). With this recipe I used De Cecco Fusilli.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and toss the pasta in the sauce.

Serve with freshly grated parmesan and ground black pepper.

If you like to you could add some black olives or anchovies to the sauce, I prefer not to due to the saltiness of these ingredients.

Tomato Sauce

This is a nice and simple yet tasty tomato sauce.

Take a small (or half a large onion) and dice finely.

Take half a red pepper and dice finely.

Soften the onion and pepper in a large frying pan with a splash of olive oil.

When the onion and pepper are nearly cooked you can add some chopped mushrooms (but this is optional, however they do add a really nice flavour).

Once the mushrooms are cooked add a good splash of balsamic vinegar and turn up the heat.

Now add a tin of chopped tomatoes or passata. I usually just use a tin of chopped (or whole) tomatoes and then whizz it in a blender. Add some tomato puree and cook for at least fifteen minutes.

It goes well with a lot of dishes, meat, fish or vegetarian.

I served mine with plain rice and thin pork loin steaks which I had covered in flour, then egg and then breadcrumbs and shallow fried.

Rice Salad

I do like a nice rice salad.

rice salad

The problem I have with some you can buy is that they are either too salty or too wet! So where possible I try and make my own.

This is a very simple recipe and you can adjust quantities to taste, how much you want, how much you have in the fridge.

Cook some rice.

I use basmati rice, in the main as it is so simple to cook, and cooks in ten minutes.

While the rice is cooking, in a frying pan add some olive oil and then add pancetta, onions, red pepper and courgettes. After that has cooked for a while add some mushrooms.

Ensure that they are cooked through and turn off the heat.

Now you could add the pepper, mushrooms, even the courgette raw, but I prefer to have them cooked.

Once the rice is cooked, drain and then to stop it cooking further and to cool it down rinse well with cold water.

Put the cooked rice in a bowl, add some mayonnaise and some creme frache.

Then add the cooked mixture.

making rice salad

Stir with a spoon until the rice and cooked mixture is evenly coated. As with a lot of salads though you could serve this straight away, it will improve if you leave it in the fridge for a few hours.

Excellent.

Chicken with mushrooms, tomatoes and courgettes

This is a simple easy recipe for cooking chicken.

Chicken with mushrooms, tomatoes and courgettes

One of the key things about cooking chicken this way is that it stays really nice and moist with lots of flavour.

Firstly take four chicken thighs, now you could use a whole chicken, half chicken or other chicken pieces. I much prefer chicken thighs over the breast meat as it has a lot more flavour (in my opinion).

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Epicure Organic Puy Lentils

Today I roasted some pancetta covered organic chicken thighs on a bed of onions, red pepper, mushrooms and courgettes. This was splashed with some olive oil and seasoned with black pepper.

Whilst this was in the oven, I softened in a frying pan, some finely chopped onion with pancetta. When the onion was nicely soft, I added some red wine and beef stock before simmering it down. Beef stock over chicken stock just because of the colour rather than flavour. I then reduced and reduced this.

When I was happy with the sauce I whisked in some butter (with a fork as it happens rather than a whisk) and then added a tin of Epicure Organic Puy Lentils. I needed to add a bit more stock at this point.

I was really impressed with the Epicure Organic Puy Lentils and will certainly be buying them again, I guess it would be potentially tastier to use dried lentils, but I personally was quite happy with the tin.

So I put the lentils on the plate, placed the chicken on top and surrounded it with the roasted vegetables. I served this along with carrots and green beans.

Really tasty.